Clothes designer Charlotte Long has been spending weekends painting scenes from Marlborough’s history on the walls at the Green Dragon pub in the High Street.
The 17th century inn is itself a piece of the town’s history and was rebuilt following a great fire that swept Marlborough in 1653, destroying most properties.
Miss Long works as a children’s clothes designer in Cheltenham but between jobs last year she spent some time working for Viv Scott, who ran the Lamb Inn in The Parade and who has also acquired the tenancy of the Green Dragon in the High Street.
Mr Scott was having the Green Dragon refurbished when the question arose of how to decorate the walls in the bar and the pub’s back rooms.
Miss Long, who is also an accomplished painter, suggested having murals and the idea developed of painting the walls with scenes from the town’s history.
“It all started with someone saying they had heard a tale that Charles Dickens had stayed at the Green Dragon when he was passing through the town,” she said.
She studied her grandfather’s books on old Marlborough and did research at the town library to get ideas, talking her proposals over with publicans Viv and Jackie Scott before starting to paint.
The front bar now has vivid murals of the Great Fire of 1653, of King John marrying Isabella of Gloucester at Marlbordough Castle – in which Charlotte has incorporated the pub dog Ludo – and a scene of King Henry VIII marrying Jane Seymour at Wolfhall, near Burbage.
Miss Long, a former St John’s student, has decorated other rooms with scenes of a royal hunt in Savernake Forest, also depicting the reputed death of a woman who was decapitated when her horse went under a low branch and whose ghost is said to still haunt the forest. She has also started a time line on the pub’s stairs with a painting of Savernake’s big belly oak with extracts from the area’s history hidden among its branches and which so far includes the town’s markets and the former London-Bath coach route that passed through the town.
Mr Scott said: “Her paintings are really good. We decided to do this as there’s nothing in Marl-borough for visitors to take them through the history of the town.”